Comparing the Effects of Specific Variables on Passionate Love among Young People: A Cross-Cultural Study

Comparing the Effects of Specific Variables on Passionate Love among Young People: A Cross-Cultural Study

Filiz Yildirim (Ankara University, Turkey) and Rosemary V. Barnett (University of Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2404-5.ch004
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The purpose of the study is to examine differences of passionate love by culture, sex and the state of being in love at the time of the research. It was conducted with a total of 235 young people, 118 from a Turkish University and 117 from a US university. As a data collection tool, the Passionate Love Scale (PLS) and personal information forms were used. In this study, it was found that culture and the state of being in love affected passionate love. It was also found that university students in an individualistic culture (the US) reported a higher score of passionate love. However, there was not a significant difference for passionate love between scores obtained by both males and females from the US and Turkey. Furthermore, the PLS scores of the university students in love were significantly higher than those of the students who were not in love in both countries.
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Social scientists have attempted to conceptualize love in order to define it and explore various related topics including the difficult measurement of love (Hatfield, Bensman & Rapson, 2012). Lee (1977) described the six colors of love; Fisher (2000) described love’s three functional systems; Sternberg’s Triangular Theory (1986) identified eight distinct love states; and others distinguished just two types: companionate love and passionate love (Bersheid & Hatfield, 1969; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993). Companionate love refers to a state which includes the concepts such as efforts to make a beloved happy, caretaking, reciprocal openness, sharing, understanding, compassion, and deep emotional affiliation. On the other hand, passionate love, which refers to the intensive desire to become one with the other, (sometimes called romantic love, infatuation, love sickness, or obsessive love) is a powerful emotional state (Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Rapson, 1996). When someone in passionate love attains a beloved, happiness, excitement, physical stimulation and sexual satisfaction emerge. Conversely, being apart results in anxiety, jealousy, suspicion, suffering and disappointment (Hatfield, 1988).

Cultures vary widely in the norms, attitudes, and customs surrounding these love types (Hatfield & Rapson, 2002). Hofstede (2016a) defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing members of one group or category of people from others.” His dimensions of national culture create a framework, which when represented numerically with a cultural comparison tool, allow for comparisons among 70 countries. One of these dimensions is individualism versus collectivism. Using Hofstede’s (2016b) cross-cultural comparison tool to compare Turkey (T) to the US on this dimension numerically, the score indicates vast differences related to social norms. The score is as follows: Individualism: T (37)/US (91); indicating that Turkey is a collectivistic society focused on the “we” aspect of looking out for one another; group harmony must be maintained. On the other hand, the US is individualistic to a very large degree, indicating the focus on the “I” aspects of its’ culture. When we compare the dimension of individualism to that of collectivism, these opposites reflect the degree to which the social framework expects individuals to take care of themselves and their immediate families or there is an expectation of taking care of a larger group in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. This is reflected by the position of a society related to whether their self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “we.” In our study, the US represents the dimension of individualism, while Turkey exhibits the features of a transitional stage society when individual and collective dimensions are taken into account. This is because values peculiar to an individualistic society can be observed in Turkey in daily life along with collectivist culture, traditional practices and the pressures of religion (Ercan, 2008; Delevi & Bugay, 2010). For this reason, it was kept in mind in this study that both individualistic and collectivist culture characteristics may co-exist in Turkey. However, compared to the US through Hofstede’s (2016a) national culture dimension, Turkey was accepted as representing the collectivist dimension.

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